The injury bug keeps hitting the San Francisco 49ers, this time to star middle linebacker Patrick Willis, who fractured his hand in Training Camp drills on Wednesday.
According to reports, Willis injured his hand in 1-on-1 blitz drills with fullback Bruce Miller. Yesterday, Willis left practice with a heavy wrap around his hand and wrist and questions arose whether he injured his hand, wrist or thumb.
With over five weeks until the 49ers open against the Green Bay Packers at home, Willis is not expected to miss any time in the regular season. His preseason is highly in question, although he probably would not have played more then a handful of series any way.
Willis is no stranger to fracturing his hand. In Willis’ rookie year in 2007, he broke his hand and played with a big cast or “club” and did not miss any time. He also lead the NFL in tackles that year. In 2010, Willis broke his hand in what was a more serious injury that required surgery. Willis elected to have surgery and he missed the final game of the season.
The Niners don’t have a lot of depth at the inside linebacker position. All-Pro Navorro Bowman mans one spot, but he has been dealing with minor injuries since camp started. Earlier in the week, Darius Fleming tore his ACL for the second straight year. The Niners used a sixth-round pick on inside linebacker Nick Moody, who should see increased time in Training Camp and the preseason.
When Willis and Bowman went down with injuries yesterday, the Niners back-up linebackers were Michael Wilhoite and Nick Stupar.